By Daniel Hunter
Black Friday has become one of the UK's biggest shopping days, but small businesses are 'not ready' for this year's frenzy, according to research by Royal Mail.
The one-day sales event started in the US has made its way over to the UK and is now considered the start of the Christmas shopping season.
Last year, British shoppers spent a whopping £810 million on Black Friday, according to market researchers IMRG.
A study by Royal Mail found that 60% of consumers are already planning their purchases for the big day. But are the UK's smaller retails ready? Although 95% are making preparations, Royal Mail says they are not applying lessons from last year.
Coping with increased website traffic (48%), managing stock (44%), delivering orders on time (33%) and distributing orders from the warehouse (31%) were the biggest problems faced by small businesses last year. But just 39% are laying foundations for extra web capacity, only 40% are planning to take on staff to deal with the extra workload and two thirds are not preparing for order deliveries at all.
Roger Morris, Head of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “Black Friday has established itself in the UK shopping calendar and now marks the start of the Christmas retail season. SMEs are joining the big brands to claim their share of the retail spend, but our research shows that they may be risking their reputation by not preparing in all areas of their business.”
For Small Business Advice Week, Royal Mail is advising small and medium-sized business to work with their delivery provider to forecast volumes for Black Friday and the Christmas shopping period. Royal Mail considers Black Friday as part of its Christmas delivery period and has been planning its logistics and staffing since early 2015. Royal Mail’s preparations include the creation of dedicated parcel sorting centres and the recruitment of thousands of additional staff for the peak period.